STIRLING council is aiming to run on 100 per cent renewable energy and cut its carbon emissions by 70 percent before the year 2030 as it does its bit to help Australia hit Paris Climate Agreement goals.
Stirling’s targets were detailed in the Corporate Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) draft, presented to council on Tuesday May 11.
The carbon and energy cutting goals outlined in the plan only apply to council owned and run facilities like recreation centres, city-owned vehicles and parks.
According to Climate Works Australia local councils collectively have a big environmental footprint in these areas and making sustainable changes to their operations can have far reaching implications.
“Local councils rank among Australia’s most important infrastructure owners and managers, with collective responsibility for over $380 billion in assets and land,” read the Climate Works website.
Climate Works and the Monash Sustainable Development Institute released a report last year assessing the emission reductions of Australia’s 57 largest local governments.
Collectively, they cover 52 per cent of Australia’s population; Stirling’s on the list with a population of 220,249.
When the report was released, 58 per cent of those local governments had a target to reach net zero operational emissions by 2050, but the Stirling wasn’t among them.
The new goals outlined in the SEAP will bring Stirling into line with the rest of the councils.
However, even with these new targets in sight, there were still some Stirling community members who felt the council was falling short.
In a community consultation for the SEAP draft, 80 per cent of respondents supported the new targets, but some in the remaining 20 per cent said the council wasn’t being ambitious enough.
During the council meeting, the committee said several respondents thought “the city should be achieving both renewable electricity and carbon emissions targets earlier”.
Stirling mayor Mark Irwin said “these targets represent a minimum achievement acceptable.
“We have clearly articulated that if the city can achieve these targets earlier in a cost-effective manner, it will do that as a priority,” Mr Irwin told the Voice.
by KELLY WARDEN